My Thoughts on Magical Mirai 2013

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It was starting. Everyone was readying their glow sticks. Everyone was chanting for her name.

A slow, creepy, but alluring intro echoed throughout the Yokohama Arena. At the same time, some mysterious animations can be seen on the monitors, showing some kind of terrace with a dark pinkish hue. Stream of colorful lights were flowing around it, making the scene felt oddly majestic… magical. Once the slow, mysterious melody reached it’s peak, the music suddenly grew rhythmic. There was now a steady beat and something changed on the monitors. The background slowly shifted into a more futuristic design and there was a huge logo on top of the image-it reads “Hatsune Miku マジカルミライ”.

The beat of the music got stronger and stronger every second-transformed from mystique to electronic. Aligning with the futuristic style, the monitor screen now shows “CODE NAME: HATSUNE MIKU”, and the background image of terrace turned into wireframes to suit the futuristic look. The music continued, but the beat still stable, at least for the moment. The screen showed “ACTIVATE”, and later “PROCESSING…”, which went on for just a few seconds before lastly, “PLEASE DO NOT CLOSE YOUR EYES” emerged on the screen as well. At this point, the beat went faster and faster, ruining it’s own stability. The status quo broke-and reached it’s climax when this silhouette was shown on the screen:

Miku!

Miku!

And yes, I watched Miku’s Magical Mirai 2013 concert, obviously not live (I wish I could) but through my computer. I caught MTV talking about it sometime ago and was planning to watch it for long while. Now that I finally did so, I’m convinced it’s one of the best damn thing I had watched in a long while, even if it’s a concert one or two years in the past by now.

The intro had such a fantastic build-up, and suiting the concert’s magical theme and also Vocaloid’s futuristic theme. The music in the intro, which is a sort of techno/electronic song, slowly shifted it’s sound into “Sweet Devil”, with melodies of the song’s intro slowly mixed in-the concert’s first ever song, a fine choice to open up the concert. The costume is good, the choreography is good, and the song got energy. The crowd was pumped, the roar was deafening.

The third song Miku sang was “Cat Food”, with a fantastic rock arrangement. It’s a nice song, and the new, live version gives it a totally new feeling altogether, while pumping up the audience. I also love how there is a virtual mic stand for Miku to interact with.

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Another noteworthy songs Miku performed live was the bubble-filled “Deep Sea Girl”, one of my favorite songs. Water, as we know, is an incredibly metaphoric visual element, which is also heavily used as an metaphor here in the song. As most PVs and images of the song depicted Miku underwater as well, and thanks to the concert’s ability to employ effects, they also integrated water effects during this song. Miku appeared on the stage with a beautiful dress from some water bubble effects, giving the impression of submerging. Towards near end of the song, they also made Miku’s hair and dress fluttered-it gave an obvious image of still being underwater, but the movement showed she was ‘reaching out’, which plays with the song’s later more optimistic lyrics. It felt immersing, captivating and most of all, magical. It’s something that probably only a Vocaloid concert can pull off, at least to THIS degree of atmosphere. And this is pretty much strictly on an aesthetic-level too. The song itself is touching, bittersweet and beautiful, even if it sadly isn’t as popular as other Miku songs, despite gaining some level of mainstream attention.

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I’ll probably muse a lot about the songs but I’ll stop here for a bit and dive into other aspects of the concert, namely-effects. Effects are a big thing with Vocaloid, and if you watched a lot of Vocaloid videos, you will know why. “Deep Sea Girl” is a song which clearly demonstrates how visual effects can accentuate the quality of the song. Thus, it’s obvious then, that effects are also utilized in live concerts. I remembered being jaw-dropped when watching one of the NicoNico Medley concert, it was the first time I watched a concert so heavily integrated with visual effects along the way, but fast forward to the present after I watched Magical Mirai 2013 though, my opinion shifted.

With the help of effects, Miku can "change" outfits without worries of wardrobe malfunction.

With the help of effects, Miku can “change” outfits without worrying about wardrobe malfunction.

The effects were wonderful of course, but during the NicoNico concert, they completely overwhelmed the songs. Then again, since the concert had the name “NicoNico” in it, I assume it’s a concert specially tailored for MMD fandom-pretty much a “MMD concert” so I understand the purpose. But this just makes me feel so much more appreciative for Magical Mirai 2013. There were still effects, but much more lesser, and they never once overwhelm the songs. Effects emerged only during a few songs like “Deep Sea Girl”, “2D Dream Fever” and mostly during intermissions. They did an excellent job as a supportive role, and only just that, as supportive role and nothing else; It’s a wonderful concert with genuine live performances and minimal, but substantial visual effects.

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I had seen glimpses of these, but after having watched a full (and one with proper quality to boot) Vocaloid concert, I just have to mention this-I find it interesting how in most Vocaloid concerts, the color of the glow sticks play their part in cheering for the Vocaloids too. For example, in the picture above, you will notice it’s Luka’s segment, and the audience immediately changed to pink glow sticks to cheer for her instead of the green-colored ones. It helps that the Vocaloids-the Cryptonloids, at least, have specific colors pretty much synonymous to each of them. Miku’s obviously green, while Luka’s pink, Meiko’s red, Kaito’s blue and Len/Rin’s yellow, so you can cheer for your favorite Vocaloids through this interesting dynamic too.

Speaking of color glow sticks, there was also a segment where Kaito and Len sang a duet-“Erase or Zero”. It’s a good song.. but do you notice barely anyone wave blue-colored glow sticks (picture below)? Being Kaito is suffering.

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This is a no brainer, since Magical Mirai is organized by Crypton themselves, but I like how original modules are used, not the MMD modules which honestly look kinda cheap, even if they do look pretty. As for the actual projection though, I noticed it’s not entirely perfect. During duet or trio onstage (basically when there’s more than one Vocaloid), they will appear transparent at times-not entirely however, just some small parts of their body. Maybe it’s because the stage, projection angle or location isn’t really compatible with projecting two or more Vocaloids. It’s just a small pet peeve though, otherwise, I have close to no complains.

The dance choreography looks very organic, even when multiple Vocaloids were dancing on stage. If you watched MMD videos of Vocaloid (or possibly characters from other anime) dancing, you might notice one obvious flaw-these MMD modules pretty much dance in a “copy-and-paste” movement, everything is synchronized a bit too perfectly and feels robotic. MMD concerts like NicoNico Medley also faced this issue, but not Magical Mirai obviously. Either way, their modules just look extremely stunning.

While I’m on the subject of dancing, as far as non-Miku Cryptonloids are concerned, I have to say, Len really stole the spotlight. Just look at him:

Len's breakdancing totally stole the show.

lenbd2 Len’s breakdancing totally stole the show.

The song during this segment is called “shake it!” by emon, which isn’t a particularly special song, but just a “party and instant-gratification” kind of song. It’s a pretty fun song though, and I love it to bits. Besides, Len’s breakdancing here is honestly hard to beat.

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Other noteworthy parts of the concert for me comes in the form of “Weekender Girl”, again, not a particularly special song, but it’s a very fun song with great choreography; probably one of my favorite choreography, actually. Other interesting part of the concert is that at some point, it featured a consecutive triple rock-themed performances from three different Vocaloids. Luka sang “Leia”, Rin sang “Tokyo Teddy Bear” and Miku sang “Unhappy Refrain”-all great high-energy songs, (with the exception of Luka maybe since it’s more of a slow rock) even if the lyrics are a little bleak *cough*Rin*cough*.

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Concert is nearing it’s end at this time and we get to the final two songs (excluding the encore): “39 (San-kyuu)” and “ODDS & ENDS”, which were excellent choices to close the concert. Both these songs don’t really tell deep, dark stories or wonder about the foundation of the universe or anything. They both just tell extremely, genuine heartfelt stories-“39 (San-kyuu)” is a song which literally expresses gratitude for the fans and “ODDS & ENDS” depicts a ‘meta’ relationship between Vocaloid and it’s producer from Miku’s perspective. Personally, I would prefer “39 (San-kyuu)” to be the absolute last song, but the conclusion still felt excellent.

Moments like these make Miku looks extremely organic.

Moments like these make Miku looks organic.

I caught glimpses of these when I was streaming live Vocaloid songs in shoutcast or cut youtube videos, but I like it when Miku talks. Due to her origin, talking had to be pretty difficult to replicate in Vocaloid form, so I appreciate any attempts for it. What’s more, Magical Mirai managed to replicate it in probably one of the most realistic-sounding fashion I had ever heard, I honestly don’t know what kind of tricks the producers pulled-though it sounded like she was talking in a tuned sound Michie M (the VocaloP known for producing extremely realistic-sounding Vocaloid songs) would normally use. This also allows Miku to interact with her audience in some form, which is also an important thing-what’s more, it feels organic.

In the midst of her encore when Miku came out again with her original outfit, only with some slight changes-an ordinary-looking T-shirt and didn’t have her normal sleeves on; and introduced the band members. This gave a realistic impression that Miku was just resting after an exhausting near 2 hours performance. Slight arrangements like these are great finishing touches on the feel of the concert overall.

The way both Miku and the crowd shouted "Thank You!" together feels extremely dynamic.

The way both Miku and the crowd shouted “Thank You!” together is a sight to behold.

Last but not least, I just have to mention this, the crowd interaction is insane. It’s something to interact with your fandom online-looking up fanarts, checking out new songs and videos, and making up song theories and stuffs, but it’s another thing altogether to watch everything transpires live. The crowd clearly understood the impact of this difference too, and their reactions are amazing. At the beginning of the concert, barely ten seconds in and every single people were already chanting “Miku! Miku! Miku!” Before performing “ODDS & ENDS”, Miku said “The next song is the last one!” and the crowd, as if on cue, went “EHHHHHH!”, humorously sounding like a funny/straight man routine. When Miku was singing “39 (San-kyuu)”, I’ll just quote the same thing I said in the above caption-the way both Miku and the crowd shouted “Thank You!” together is a sight to behold. It’s an uncanny and surreal sight for sure, but incredibly heartfelt.

These reactions felt so genuine and dynamic, and it’s a reaction I haven’t been feeling to such an extend watching live concerts from other singers-talk about irony. I think it has to do with how the Vocaloid medium itself is so fan-based. Everything is produced by fans-images, songs, videos and so on-Miku is their avatar; and there is just something captivating watching these heavily fan-produced works live by fans themselves in such a grand stage.

They are Miku's fireflies (someone please get this reference).

They are Miku’s fireflies (someone please get this reference).

Trivia:
1. All the video links here are subbed in various languages-Vietnamese, Chinese, español, English and so on. I tried but couldn’t find it all in English. Lyrics are important in Vocaloid songs, so I suggest to find videos subbed in English (or any languages you know) if you want to watch them.
2. I got the full concert video file in my computer subbed in English myself, and in case you’re wondering, I got it from torrent. Yeah…
3. Some terms I used here which you might need to know, just FYI: MMD-Miku Miku Dance (a freeware animation software), VocaloP-Vocaloid Producer and Cryptonloids-Vocaloids released by Crypton.
4. I need to attend a Miku live concert, not that kind of atrocious Lady Gaga concert Miku did, but Magical Mirai-now THIS is what I call a concert.
5. Unfortunately, I still can’t find Magical Mirai 2014 yet.
6. First time writing these kinds of post, so I was kinda just writing whatever sprung up in my mind as I watched the concert.

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This entry was posted by Kai.

8 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Magical Mirai 2013

  1. Bray Wyatt reference with the fireflies? Or was it Grave of the Fireflies?

    Also that reminds me of this video.

    Anyway I will put “attend a Vocaloid concert” on my bucket list.

  2. I may have the completely wrong end of the stick here…but doesn’t Miku look kinda weird in some of those pictures (like the third to last one)? I feel like i’ve seen much better projections of her at live shows.

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  5. Really love the shirt Miku’s wearing as she does the band introduction, that casual look.

    I hear you about the meaningful lyrics, they’re simple but convey a feeling with them. I certainly find myself touched more often by these songs than by mainstream music, part of the charm of vocaloid music is that they’re by everyday people.

    Also, to add on the point about ‘ODDS & ENDS’, this was Ryo’s last song before he quit vocaloid, moving on to human singers, so that might add some context to it.

    • Yea, feels naturally like how a real concert would do.

      Lyrics are definitely one of the highlights of Vocaloid, checking the lyrics is still something I want to do more in Vocaloid, however, but yeah I definitely agree with you there. Vocaloid, as a music platform, actually feels more approachable and down-to-earth due to the fact that it’s such a fan-based medium.

      Oh, I know supercell went to the human singer route but don’t know ODDS & ENDS is his last one with vocaloid, how fitting they would pick that song as the last song then.

      Actually this reminds me, I should watch the 2014 one soon, lol.

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